Fighting (for) the Right to Party

Fighting (for) the Right to Party
Response to N+1, Issue 19 Editorial, “The Concert Hall”

When the left imagines the final expropriation of the expropriators, the soundtrack accompanying it might be folk, Motown, hip-hop, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, punk, Metallica, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Red Army Chorus, Bob Marley, Victor Jara, electronica or Crosby Still Nash and/or Young-all of these have been proposed at different times. Whatever we choose, it is a safe bet that it is not Beethoven string quartets or Bach trio sonatas.

Rather that is what the vile plutocrats themselves are listening to as the pitchfork wielding hordes mass outside of their bunkered compounds.

This is why, insofar as it is not seen as merely obtuse, expressing a preference for what is called classical, art or concert music over what used to be referred to as “popular” musical forms is viewed as potentially reactionary, an implicit defense of the privileged class which had financed the construction of the concert halls, hosted the salons, established systems of patronage and otherwise supported and promoted the art form over the generations.

In some of my recent articles I have tried to challenge or at least to add some nuance to this picture. I’m glad that the N+1 editors have taken notice and I’m also grateful that they have provided some subtle and erudite arguments agreeing with me that the conventional left wisdom on these matters is not as self-evident as is generally assumed.

Our agreement takes for granted several points of departure, among them the recognition that a dim view of musical high culture among the left is not a practical inevitability or a logical necessity. Indeed, as I argue in my piece “Nothing’s too Good for the Working Class” it is a relatively recent development. To take a few examples I cite there, in the past, one could assume some familiarity with what use to be called concert music warhorses such as Beethoven Symphonies, Mozart arias or Chopin Nocturnes, the basic themes of which would have been recognized by Marx or Lenin and are still by Stanley Aronowitz or Joel Kovel among others in their generational cohort. Similarly, while one rarely encounters classical music as a topic of conversation now, it was frequently at the IBEW Union Hall in Schenectady, NY, and at the ILGWU summer retreat Unity House. While few know the names of more than a two or three classical performers or composers this was not the case for what may have been hundreds or even thousands of students enrolled in music appreciation classes at the now forgotten but highly successful people’s schools sponsored by the Communist Party USA, including the Thomas Jefferson School for Social Science in New York City.

We also would probably agree that the left as it is now constituted would not regard this absence as something to despair-indeed they celebrate it. And they have some basis for their doing so, including that provided by Lawrence Levine’s influential Highbrow/Lowbrow, which depicts turn of the century elites developing the modern symphony orchestra and the codes of conduct associated with them as part of a broad effort to create appropriate habits of obedience, deference and respect for authority among a potentially restive working class. If classical music is finally dead, so the argument goes, we should be applauding just as much as we would the death of any other reactionary institution, whether it is the Heritage Foundation, the NRA or the Republican Party.

A third point of agreement is in recognizing that if the loss of authority and cultural prestige of the high arts and culture generally and classical music specifically is a defeat for social and political elites, it is an isolated and insignificant one: where it matters, their triumph is near total, with the 1% having managed to concentrate income share and wealth to a degree that would have been the envy of plutocrats of virtually any prior epoch. Along with this has been the near complete collapse of institutions by which the 99% had been able to exercise some degree of political influence, most notably unions as well other once powerful left wing constituencies both inside and outside the Democratic Party.

According to the logic assumed by the left, this is not what was not supposed to happen. Rather, the Dionysian energies of popular musical forms replacing the staid rituals of the concert hall were to be accompanied by analogous mass political movements overthrowing entrenched wealth, power and privilege and its accumulated social, cultural and economic capital. Alas, when the lights went on, it turned out the masses weren’t interested in pitch forks after all-the only right they were fighting for was the right to party. And they won. The codes of behavior associated with classical music are almost entirely reviled. As the N+1 editorial observes, almost everyone, including those who appreciate the music when it is experienced elsewhere, find the rituals of the concert hall oppressive at best–unbearable at worst.

The question raised by observing this set of facts is whether there is more than a random, frivolous connection between the death of hope for a decently functioning and minimally just society and the perennial pearl clutching topic of “the death of classical music.” In responding to critics of my Jacobin article The Last Symphony, I’ve attempted to argue that there is, or, more precisely, that it should be seen in a broader context in which the left consoles itself for “the absence of substantive achievements,” by “tak(ing) refuge in symbolism”, or more precisely, confusing symbolic victories for substantive gains. Other examples along these lines include that

“we have failed to make any difference in addressing the desperate conditions of indigenous peoples, but we have succeeded in changing of names of a couple of sports teams. We have done essentially nothing to prevent the largest drop in African American wealth in history over the past six years but we gladly take credit for and celebrate as one of our own the phenotypically African American president who presided over the carnage. A full one quarter of all African Americans rot in prison or on probation, but jazz (“black classical music”) has been granted a central place in music school curricula.”

Shifting the analytical focus, the same logic applies to one of the few compensations we receive for suffering under the imposition of austerity economics: our hearing a faint echo of what were once thought to be “revolutionary” aspirations in the deluge of commercial musical product marketed to and willingly (or unwillingly) consumed by us.

I’ll have more to say about this, but before I do, it’s worth considering going beyond noting this connection, that is, considering whether there is an element of causality linking the embrace of the cultural and artistic legacy of aristocratic/haute bourgeois high culture of a prior left with its relative success and, conversely, the rejection of these with our comparative failure.

Excavating the matter a bit more deeply, the N+1 editors may be on to something when, via Proust’s creation of the imaginary composer Vinteuil in Swann’s Way, they note that Swann in

listen(ing) to the whole piece—at last experiences it from beginning to end—his thoughts are freed from the prison of his self-reflection. He understands that the music he heard was not, as he once thought, like a perfume, or a caress, or any other sensual accompaniment, but an idea and event of its own . . . The music exceeds the frameworks in which it’s performed—which banalize it, strive to render it unlistenable—and yet survives intact.

Of course, as someone whose daily labors consist of helping students develop the aural and analytical skills necessary to internalize the intricate, composed structure of canonic masterpieces, I am sympathetic to the possibility that these generalize to a larger capacity to view the world critically. And I’m even sympathetic to the view associated with Adorno that this species of critical engagement is in some sense analogous to that required to make sense of, and ultimately issue a fundamental challenge to, the underlying structural logic of capitalism.

But that’s not the argument which I want to make here. Rather what I’ll defend is the more easily supported complementary proposition, namely, that the conventional left wisdom on these questions–viewing music as functioning primarily as an occasion for the liberated expression of primal, unreflective “collective joy,” the subject of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Dancing in the Streets is by now all washed up. Rather than being a transition to politicized forms of mass uprising, the carnivalesque spectacles are dead ends, channeling what might find expression through political channels into narrowly personalized exercises in adolescent subjectivity–hence the connection with Swann.

This explains why it is now many years since anything even vaguely resembling a critical left political content has been allowed anywhere near mass popular culture, something I can attest to as a parent of a nine year old still willingly immersing himself in the warm bath which it provides. Bearing in mind that, purely as music, popular music is neither better or worse than it ever has been, it is also readily apparent that a song dealing with the content of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol”, “Four Dead in Ohio”, or “War: What is it Good For?” or even “Brother Can you Spare a Dime?” would never find its way past the corporate filters mediating the connection between musical production and mass consumption. Of course, as always, there is plenty of rebellion acted out in popular music, albeit in its most banal, adolescent, cynical and reactionary form of which the following is not atypical:

I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone.
I crashed my car into the bridge. I watched, I let it burn.
I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs.
I crashed my car into the bridge.

I don’t care, I love it.
I don’t care.

The notion that any kind of adversarial political culture will arise from popular music now seems a cruel joke-a mirror image of Swann’s trajectory from a critical awareness of objective musical content back into the most debased celebration of human subjectivity. Reduced to its barebones essence, what Swann learns from confronting the Vanteuil Sonata is that which teenagers (hopefully) learn when confronted with the pithy phrase “it’s not all about you.” Popular musical forms in their fully corporatized maturity serve as a high volume rejoinder to this recognition, smothering the expression of objective awareness, including that required for politicized mass action, constantly exhorting its targets to celebrate narcissistic self-absorption as the ne plus ultra of human experience.

At least, that is my opinion, one which I would not have been willing to advertise had it not been strongly reinforced by the dubious privilege of attending a live performance of the abovementioned contribution to the vocal music canon some weeks ago. It occurred, as it happens, in the context of a rock festival only a few miles from Woodstock, New York, just a few miles from the late Pete Seeger’s homestead. The Icono Pop duo, two comely young Swedes, took the stage inquiring of the mosh pit “How ya doing out there? Are you ready to party?” then proceeding to exhort their audience to “make some noise”, following it by a performance which, were it somewhat in-tune, would be indistinguishable from an aerobics routine. Unsurprisingly, this, compounded with high temperatures, lack of shade and a single water fountain servicing several thousands (bottled water was available-but for the extortionate price of $4.00),resulted in frequent calls to EMT crews to tend to sufferers of heat stroke. Kiosks representing loan refinancing, cosmetic dentistry, insurance company offices, car dealerships and, most conspicuously, recruitment outposts for all branches of the military service, lined the perimeter of the performance site. State Police, perfectly at home in this environment, threaded through the crowd scouring it for illegal substances, entirely unnecessary as a requirement for entry was submitting to a security patdown with anything other than a sealed eight ounce plastic water bottle subject to confiscation.

Suffice to say that Woody Guthrie, Country Joe Macdonald, John Lennon, or Gil Scott Heron would have soon discovered they had no business here, had they been allowed entry. As the truism goes, just we as individuals come to embody much of what we hated in our youth so too can the same be said of the legacy of the Woodstock generation in its hypercommercialized, reactionary dotage.

This, of course, raises the question of the new world waiting to be born, as the song goes. That is, what style or performance context will be able to articulate in musical terms the inevitable next wave-a tsunami, one hopes, of political dissent. I can’t say that I share the optimism of the N+1 editors that the ruins of the traditional classical canon be reconstructed to function as the foundation of the “fully enlightened human subjectivity” which they suggest it did in the past and can in the future. Nor am I optimistic, based on what I have heard, that works currently being composed within the remaining threads of what has become a stultifyingly self-aware art music tradition can sustain the level of engagement necessary for providing the necessary inspiration.

All that’s to say, as Tom Lehrer did about citizens of Pompeii, we should get used to crawling around in the rubble-both when it comes to political and musical culture. At the moment, while neither seems capable of supporting anything other than an increasingly decadent and unsustainable status quo, there is at least some basis for the hope that it will not always be thus.

Why the Left is Hopeless (bourgeois feminist edition)

Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English and Communication at University of Illinois at Chicago Deidre McCloskey participating in Kathleen Geier’s excellent new colloquy, The Curve, in The Nation:

“What is not a feminist issue is raising the minimum wage to, say, Seattle’s $15.00, since it is women, and especially women of color, who will be first to be shown the door—or, silently, not hired in the first place. And I don’t see dumping on Hillary Clinton as a good idea. She is at present likely to become president. Do we really want to be seen as opposed to the first woman president on account of her imperfect feminist purity?”

Here’s where McCloskey is right: Raising the minimum wage is self-evidently not a feminist issue since it is about raising wages for ALL low wage workers. But notice how she contradicts herself: her claim is that it IS a feminist issue since, according to her, it will disproportionately disadvantage women.

It is likely that the opposite is true: the $15 minimum wage will proportionately benefit low wage women workers. But it is obvious that she doesn’t care one iota about this demographic: for her feminism is primarily about “breaking the glass ceiling”, promoting nongendered access to positions of extreme wealth, power and privilege, hence the single minded obsession with electing Clinton.

This is not my fight to engage in as I don’t consider myself a feminist-at least insofar as the term now means what we used to call “bourgeois feminism” represented, as we see above, in the pages of The Nation and, for that matter across the board of the establishment left.

I would love to be proven wrong about this. If I am, those who consider themselves feminists will need to reclaim feminism from those such as McCloskey who have often succeeded in redefining it as an adjunct of neoliberalism-fully compatible with the bipartisan austerity agenda.

That’s a strategic objective around which I can offer one bit of advice: writing and promoting books about “mansplaining” won’t be the slightest help in achieving it.

Of course, this advice is sure to be dismissed out of hand insofar as it is not entirely ignored.

Yet another indication of how profoundly unserious the left has become through having allowed itself to be defined itself by a depoliticized multiculturalism accommodating itself to the neoliberal state, as McCloskey’s remarks nicely demonstrates.

The Left is Hopeless, installment 7,329

A tweet from journalist Allison Kilkenny-who has done some good work over the years.

“Key to success: Be old and white and male and make decisions that kill lots of poor brown people.”

So let’s see, the guy who’s signing off on the drone attacks is middle aged and black, his U.N. ambassador justifying them a middle-aged, black female, the previous secretary of state responsible for massive death and destruction was a white female, preceded by a black middle aged female etc. In short, killing poor brown people is an equal opportunity employer.
It has been for a long time. Those who own and operate the political system love it when they can find young fresh faces-especially black and female ones-to do their business for them.

Why can’t we wake up to that fact?

The Discourse of Acceptance (of neoliberalism)

In a revealing discussion on Doug Henwood’s Behind the News, Suzanna Danuta Walters, Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University, argues that, with respect to sexual preference, “(We need to) push back against the discourse of acceptance.”

That, according to her, is why she “always cring(es) when (she) hear(s) about court cases about gay families and our side says ‘look all the data shows that kids from gay families do just as well as kids of straight parents.’ That’s the weak argument,” Walters suggests. Rather, “Don’t you want to say that queer families are ‘queer’ and do something to undermine traditional family forms?”

I wonder whether Walters at all realizes how contemptuous this rhetorical question is for those who can’t maintain any kind of family arrangement whatsoever-traditional or otherwise?

In fact, our country, or more specifically, its political class is doing a great job of achieving her objective of “undermining traditional family forms.” By destroying the economic basis of working class communities through attacks on unions and the minimum wage, deindustrialization, withdrawing support for public housing (as discussed in the second segment of the show) etc. neoliberalism has made the maintenance of any kind of stable family unit impossible for many segments of the population.

It’s hard to imagine that communities devastated by it are joining with Walters in cheering on undermining of families. A broader politics which celebrates this would seem to be a sure loser, not to mention morally degraded.

Revealing in this connection is that in her entire segment, there is not the slightest mention of the primary victims of neoliberal austerity: the words poor people, poverty or economic injustice are never once uttered.

That’s likely because economic victimhood is a reality which barely exists in the circles which dominate Walters’s consciousness and that of many self-described academic radicals.

A good indication of this is her claim that “all families are to some extent the same (in that, for example) we all have to deal with college apps.”

No, WE don’t all deal with college applications. In fact, well less than the majority of African American high school students attend college, with only 24% having completed a bachelors degree.

In the circles which Walters moves, and to which she is directing her remarks, all this, and the tens of millions living in poverty or near poverty is a world away-out of sight and out of mind.

But that, of course, begs the question of why Walters should expect any support for initiatives she believes should be central to the left agenda.

Orwell once asked whether’s it’s any wonder why “we”-by which he meant the British intellectual and upper middle class-are so hated.

In a short and very useful segment, Walters provides a clear answer to this question.

Can the Left Learn the Lessons of the WFP Debacle?

It was often said of my maternal uncle that whatever his character flaws (significant, by all accounts) “that guy could sell a broken refrigerator to an eskimo.” Based on the reaction to last weekend’s convention debacle, it’s pretty much impossible not to issue the same back handed compliment to the Working Families Party with the defective product being, of course, the right wing Cuomo candidacy marketed to the left eskimos in Albany.

Most remarkable about this particular sales job was that the left knew exactly what it was purchasing. So odiously reactionary were the policies of the notorious Governor 1% that for weeks before the convention, WFP functionaries were assuring the left that they would never consider an endorsement, those of us suggesting it right wing trolls or provocateurs.

That was before last weekend when the WFP leadership required their spinmeisters to perform an Orwellian pirouette which they executed brilliantly. They did not, as might be expected, characterize the deal as a regrettable compromise necessary to maintain the party’s “viability” and (by implication) its connection to the unions who provide its financial lifeline. Rather they doubled down hyping a few puny concessions (immediately walked back by the Governor) as a triumph for the left, demonstrating, yet again, the WFP’s combination of “savvy, principle and sophistication”, dipping into the grab bag of adjectives provided by numerous previous puff pieces in the Nation, In These Times and the American Prospect.

This was the line emanating from, among others, Richard Kirsch of the Roosevelt Institute who denied “that the New York Working Families Party’s endorsement of a Wall Street, austerity Democrat – Andrew Cuomo – is a defeat for the surging progressive wing of the Democratic Party.” Rather than believing our lying eyes, according Kirsch we need to recognize that “(i)n fact, just the opposite is true.”

Also weighing in via a profile on WFP head Daniel Cantor in Politico was former congressional staffer David Sirota. For Sirota, the endorsement is consistent with the WFP’s strategy to become “the tea party of the left”, a peculiar comparison given that the Tea Party’s refusal to compromise is precisely what has made them anathema to Washington insiders.

These pieces were typical of the left reaction, though, to be fair, some of the praise for WFP was combined with a recognition of the “troubling” ambiguities involved.

To find a more critical perspective one had to go to the far reaches of the left inhabited by Jacobin Magazine which ran a short piece I found myself compelled to write, as no one else would do the necessary job of sewage disposal.

But even here, the hooks of the WFP machine were evident as the editors chose to re-post at exactly the same time a gaseous faux critical apologia penned by a Yale PhD candidate accompanied by the editorial instruction to “consider the concessions wrung out of (Cuomo) . . . (b)efore writing off the Working Families Party’s endorsement as yet another capitulation.”

The question begged by the above is what accounts for the kid gloves treatment accorded the WFP. The left is hardly unknown for being insufficiently vigilant in policing its own ranks for signs of contamination by right wing ideology, the denunciatory choruses of “check your privilege” emanating from some quarters of the left being a notable, and conspicuous example. Why does a party’s consistent endorsement of an objectively right wing governance get a pass from much of the left?

One reason, as I suggested previously, is the role of the unions in the WFP pre-empts criticism. First because it is seen as conferring working class authenticity the lack of which intellectuals and academics tend to be insecure about-this despite the fact by now, a unionized worker’s salary and benefit package would be a panacea for many of those attempting to enter the academic ranks. (A reveaing comparison is the salary of the unionized U.C. Davis Police Lieutenant John Pike being more than double that of the assistant professor he attacked in the now legendary assembly line pepper spraying incident.)

Second, related to the first, is the traditional role of labor unions as a employment ladder, and in some cases, a life line, to campus leftists for whom jobs in the corporate world are for either practical or temperamental reasons (both laudable) not an option. A well worn path runs from graduate students involved in unionization drives or undergrads in various Student Labor Action Movement chapters to positions as organizers or within SEIU or HERE. Also within this category are labor studies programs and think tanks employing many left academics which are often financed by the unions themselves. As I have written elsewhere, close ties between the unions and this (admittedly small) wing of the academy have had the consequence of an excessively credulous and insufficiently critical views of the unions, and union leadership in particular. One indication is revealed by a JSTOR search of the archives of the professional journal Labor History failing to turn up a single reference to the legendarily corrupt union boss “Greedy” Gus Bevona and very few having to do with union corruption. A similar bias was evident in the mostly hostile response to Bob Fitch’s classic book Solidarity for Sale by those in the profession typified by the Nation review by NYU Professor Kim Phillips-Fein.

As I noted in my previous piece, the WFP convention should have provided a teachable moment for the left.

And it can still be if we don’t allow the official voices of the left establishment to convince us that the recent emision of bodily fluids by the WFP is a refreshing spring rain.

Pulling the Plug on Working Families: A Teachable Moment in Albany

Just a few weeks ago, those daring to suggest that a Working Families Party endorsement of the notoriously right wing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the offing were assailed by the WFP’s liberal supporters as cynics at best or GOP moles at worst.

But that, to their evident displeasure, is precisely what materialized last weekend.

The driving forces were, most conspicuously, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who, despite his being slapped down by the Governor on charter schools and in his attempt to finance universal pre-K with a millionaires tax, urged delegates accept on faith his portrait of Gov. 1% as a genuine progressive blocked by Senate Republicans (that the Governor has supported and engineered a working Republican majority in Albany was left unmentioned).  As a loyal Democrat, this display of blind partisanship while plenty unappealing was what was necessary and required from him.   The same cannot be said for the other shoulder on the battering ram, the state’s major unions who have not, or at least not yet, officially merged operations with Democratic Party.  However, it is probably by now best for them, and surely for us, to dispense with the fiction that there is any meaningful daylight between the two, or that any response other than “how high” will follow the demand of Democratic Party leadership to jump.

Just as revealing as the endorsement itself were the circumstances which framed it.  Mirroring the contempt towards the WFP demonstrated repeatedly by the Governor’s policies in his first term was that emanating from the party leadership directed toward the party’s Howard Dean wing. The latter, in response to the shit sandwich offered up to them, had made their displeasure known by supporting the insurgent candidacy of Park Slope law professor Zephyr Teachout and by demanding real action from Cuomo on campaign finance reform in exchange for the endorsement. This provoked the wrath of party insiders who regarded he failure to wave the pom-poms for Governor 1% as tantamount to treason.

A concise expression were the remarks of Mike McGuire, the political director for the Mason Tenders of New York City, who professed to be “ashamed (he) ever helped found the WFP.”

“To call yourself the ‘working families’ party and then draw the line in the sand over campaign finance reform is an absolute disgrace,” McGuire announced on his Facebook page.  Rejecting the activists demand that the Party should receive some meaningful concession in exchange for their endorsement, McGuire shot back, “How about a line in the sand over raising the minimum wage? Or establishing a true living wage? Or fully funding the public transportation system? Or bringing jobs and opportunity and economic development to the pockets of New York City and vast swaths of upstate New York that so desperately need them? When you can’t pay the rent or put food on the table, campaign finance reform is a rich person’s problem. The WFP leadership is now nothing more than a bunch of Park Slope limousine liberals, either literally or figuratively.”

Leave aside the blatant dishonesty of the implication that Cuomo has any interest in pursuing “a true living wage” or other economic policies which help “put food on the table” or “provide jobs” for upstate residents, or that the real estate moguls backing Cuomo’s campaigns have the slightest concern with those who “can’t pay the rent.” What is most glaring here is the hypocrisy of a six figure union boss smearing as “limousine liberals” the rank and file activist base of the party who likely have salaries far below the six figures typical of the upper ranges of the labor hierarchy.

Unfortunately, McGuire will almost certainly get away with it as the targets of his rant rarely if ever hit back.  This despite their having a huge club to wield if they chose to use it, namely, the indictments Robert Fitch memorably assembled in his classic 2006  exposé Solidarity for Sale.  As Fitch documented, union leadership salaries are achieved through concessionary contracts negotiated with industry, their well stuffed bank accounts often derived from funds directly or indirectly stolen from local treasuries for which they escape prosecution via “get out of jail free cards” provided by so-called “labor Democrats”. Completing the circle, blank checks to the Democratic Party from near bankrupt unions provides leadership with “seats at the table” where they collude in policies responsible for a decades long collapse in union density now at single digits in the private sector. Their doing so provides them with a reputation for “seriousness” and “pragmatism” making possible lateral moves into establishment think tanks and corporate boards.

The WFP deal is just one more episode in this depressing charade.  And if the history offered by Fitch is not enough, there is also Eric Chester’s brilliant 2004 historical monograph True Mission: Socialism and the Labor Party Question in the U.S. which identifies a consistent pattern of labor unions undermining repeated attempts to form independent left parties going back more than a century-raising hopes and then dashing them by folding the efforts back into the Democratic Party, then, as now, controlled by elite corporate interests.

Readers of Chester’s book will discover why early socialists including most notably Eugene Debs vehemently opposed attempts by party moderates to form a Labor Party based in the existing unions of his day, whose leadership then was as compromised and capitulationist then as New York state labor leaders showed themselves to be last weekend.

The current generation of leftists have either forgotten or, more likely, never learned this history.  Consequently, they have fetishized unions and union leadership taking for granted as the ne plus ultra of third party organizing the formation of a Labor Party created at the initiative of existing unions.  Chester shows how this hope is a chimera: to expect what Debs called “the bourgeois unions” to act in the broad interest of the working class by challenging the two corporate parties is as unrealistic as the expectation that the expropriators will expropriate themselves.

By unmasking the New York union leadership as craven and unprincipled, the WFP convention debacle provided the left what could be a teachable moment forcing the general realization that unions are deeply rooted in the capitalist system and in the individualist ethos which supports it.

The left must begin to develop fully independent organizations outside of establishment channels which are able to seriously contend with capital and erode the foundations on which its legitimacy rests.

Anything less is a recipe for failure.